New Horizons in Intellectual Property series
Chapter 1: Introduction
This book investigates the realm of intellectual property rights (IPRs) within the context of the international political economy (IPE). In particular, it examines the extent to which powerful interest groups, such as pharmaceutical multinational companies (MNCs), influence and shape the political dynamism underlying the field of IPRs. As a case study it takes the agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and relates it to the advanced (research-based) pharmaceutical industry in Europe. It explores the manner in which the latter organized and operated between 1995 and 1999 to secure its interests with regard to the international intellectual property (IP) agenda, as set by the TRIPs agreement. 1.1 THE AIMS AND PURPOSE OF THIS BOOK The TRIPs agreement represents a major increase in the global protection of IPRs.1 It aims to control the distribution and exploitation of different types of knowledge such as inventions, artistic creations, trade secrets and information for consumers on different products. In other words, the TRIPs accord extends the monopolistic position of IP owners. Thus, while the WTO aims at trade liberalization, it seems that the TRIPs agreement contradicts the general trend and increases the monopolistic features of international trade in knowledge products. This book is therefore concerned with a basic and fundamental question: why and how is such a strong international IP agenda in place? 1.2 THE INADEQUATE ECONOMIC JUSTIFICATION FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF IPRS Providing a pure economic explanation for the creation of IPRs is quite difficult,...